November 6, 2002

NORTH CHICAGO (Nov. 6)–As hinted in “Hot Topics” last August 20, Metra conductor Eddie Washington has been declared the winner in the race to become the new State Representative for the 60th District, which covers parts of Waukegan and North Chicago.

Washington, 49, of Waukegan, thus becomes the first railroad employee in many decades to be elected to the Illinois General Assembly.

“I feel great!”–a jubilant Washington told “Hot Topics” after a busy day of fielding congratulatory calls and greeting supporters at his campaign headquarters. “[Gov.-Elect] Rod Blagojevich and I have already gotten together and talked.”

A staunch union and neighborhood activist, as well as a father of seven, Washington grew serious when asked about how he views his coming responsibilities as a member of the Illinois House.

“I hope all UTU members will use my election as an example of what political involvement and union activism can accomplish,” Washington said. “It’s not enough to be comfortable and to collect a good paycheck and benefits. There’s still a lot of pain out there among our brothers and sisters. But when we’re politically active and organized, we can be pain-killers.”

UTU Illinois Legislative Director Joseph C. Szabo offered the union’s congratulations to Washington on a well run race and welcomed him to the ongoing fight for political recognition of the rights and needs of working people and their families.

“Eddie Washington is exactly the kind of working-people’s representative we need to see more of in our state legislatures,” he said. “I think John Burner and I do a pretty good job of getting the viewpoint and the concerns of railroad workers out there in front of the members of the General Assembly, but when those elected officials start hearing those same viewpoints from one of their own colleagues, railroad workers are going to gain an extra measure of credibility. I’m really looking forward to working with Eddie in Springfield.”

“We’re all in this together, regardless of color or creed,” Washington said. “The burden of change is on us.”